Indoor trampoline parks started as a failed idea for a sport but have turned into a fast-growing outlet for fun and fitness.
Anyone who says that you can’t have a good time while exercising has clearly never been to a Sky Zone trampoline park. Started in 2004 as one man’s attempt to revolutionize the sport of basketball, the Sky Zone business model has morphed dramatically to become the latest craze in family entertainment. Beyond just being used for fun, however, many franchises have begun offering trampoline-based fitness classes where participants can burn up to 1,000 calories per hour.
When he first had the idea for Sky Zone almost a decade ago, founder Rick Platt didn’t have trampoline parks in mind. Instead, he envisioned a new sport that he hoped would sweep the nation. A version of basketball played on trampolines, in which players would try to jump through a spinning hoop to score points, Sky Zone was an ambitious creation (to say the least). Unfortunately for Platt, his $2 million investment in the sport of Sky Zone was not destined to pan out. His 17,000-square-foot facility in Las Vegas could have been deemed a total failure if it weren’t for a group of skateboarders who began showing up and wondering if they could pay to use his trampolines to practice tricks.
Suddenly, a new business idea was born from the Sky Zone concept. Platt began operating his trampoline gym as a sort of indoor amusement park, and families began to flock to it. Before long, Platt’s son Jeff opened a second park in St. Louis. Today, there are more than 50 franchise locations across the country, with several more opening each year.
Beyond just an outlet for kids’ birthday parties and families looking to have a good time, Sky Zone’s trampolines have been harnessed by the operators of several of the franchise locations to offer truly unique fitness classes. At the facility in Indianapolis, for instance, a “Skyrobics” class gives participants the chance to burn up to 1,000 calories per hour, according to USA Today.
The classes at the Indianapolis facility and other Sky Zone locations give attendees a unique combination of the cardiovascular workout provided by the actual act of jumping, along with a whole-body strength-training workout as you try to keep yourself balanced and controlled. In addition to the classes offered at many Sky Zone parks, attendees are also able to play modified versions of basketball, volleyball, and dodgeball that all revolve around using the trampolines.
Safety is always a concern when trampolines are involved—after all, USA Today reports that there are an estimated 100,000 trampoline accidents every year—but Sky Zone has taken as many precautions as possible to ensure the safety of its guests. All the trampolines are surrounded by nets and new jumpers must sit through a safety presentation before they are allowed to start participating. In spite of all safety measures, however, accidents do happen. Sky Zone locations have seen their fair share of sprains and even broken bones.
With millions of visitors accepting the risks and attending Sky Zone parks throughout the U.S. each year, the business is quickly growing in popularity and promises to be around for quite a while. You can watch a highlight reel of people enjoying a Sky Zone facility here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fx1-q0KP3NI